I've been saying all week that I thought the Steelers would win this game today in a "Kordellesque" blowout. Meaning, the defense would be good (how about dominant) and they would win a game in-which the score would look closer than the game actually was.
Man, this was like shades of 2001. The Steelers' defense was just unreal today. I haven't seen as dominant a game out of that unit in years. The way they controlled the line of scrimmage and shut down Chris Johnson (16 carries 34 yards) proves to me that they're back and despite their age, they're back to their '08 form.
They knocked the living hell out of Johnson the entire game. That's what you have to do with guys like that. You have to put some fear in him and let him know that every time he touches the ball, he's going to get rocked. I would be remiss if I failed to mention the Johnson 85 yard touchdown run that was called back after a holding call. But there really was holding on the play and the defense REALLY did shut down Johnson.
And I was really impressed with how well they shut down Vince Young in the passing game, but I wasn't that surprised. Dick Lebeau eats quarterbacks like that for breakfast. I'll admit I was a little nervous when Collins came in the game, but he was also pretty ineffective until the last two-drives when the Steelers were winded and went into prevent mode.
I was frustrated (as I predicted) with the offense's ability to take advantage of the 7 turnovers. The Titans' front seven also controlled the line of scrimmage, but I did think the running game looked ok. Not a great performance, but it was just effective enough to control the clock. The Steelers had many chances to put the game away very early on, but could only muster 12 points on all those turnovers.
Charlie Batch actually looked good early on when he came in for the injured Dixon. He could have easily had two touchdowns: The first one to Mike Wallace that was broken up by former Steelers' safety, Chris Hope, who made a great play on the ball. And the second one also to Wallace that was negated by a holding penalty on Jonathon Scott.
For whatever reason, they pulled the reigns in a little on the passing game in the second half. Maybe it was because they had a two-score lead the last two quarters, or more than likely, it was because of how awful the offensive line pass protected. It seemed like Dixon and Batch were under pressure the entire day. There was rarely a clean pocket. I guess the offensive line did about as well as expected with the injuries they sustained not only last week with Starks, and today with the injury to Trai Essex. The heat was pretty oppressive too, and I'm sure that didn't help matters any. But neither Jonathon Scott or Tony Hills had good games at all.
It is a little concerning that they can't seem to put the ball in the end zone. The only touchdown they scored today was on the opening kickoff when Mewelde Moore took the kick and handed it to Antonio Brown on a reverse who took it all the way for the opening score. That was basically the highlight of the offense as the defense controlled this entire game and Jeff Reed made all of his fantasy owners happy with 4 field goals.
And speaking of Skippy, he did really well with his kickoffs today, putting many into the endzone or inside the 5 yard line.
Sepulveda was exceptional with his punting, and was a key factor giving the Titans horrible field position the entire day.
But make no mistake about it, Troy is back, Aaron is back, Timmons looks like he's finally turning into a dominant (there's that word again) linebacker, Harrison was a beast again today, the star of this game was the defense.
The 2-0 start is great, but you can't sugar coat the struggles of the offense who have no touchdowns in regulation so far this season, but all they had to do was survive the first four games, and so far, they're thriving at surviving.